Friday, December 19, 2008


The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that the finger pointing these days from the Schuring congressional campaign in explaining its loss to Democrat John Boccieri is in the direction of the Ohio Republican Party.

There are two factors emphasized in the finger pointing.

First, Robert T. Bennett (chairman) and Kevin DeWine (deputy chairman), masterminds of the Columbus-based Ohio GOP headquarters, presided over the development of the “Youngstown John” strategy as the primary way for the Schuring campaign to attract a simple majority of voters to the Schuring side.

Second, headquarters group decided to put disproportional funding into the Snichler/DeHoff 50th District Ohio House race. Money that was sorely needed by the Schuring campaign.

The Report adds a third as a contributory reason for Schuring nearly 10% loss. It seemed as if Republican political strategists believed Schuring could offset an expected loss (having miscalculated the margin of loss) in Stark by winning in Ashland, Medina and Wayne counties.

The Report comes away with the impression that the Schuring folks were never convinced that the “Youngstown John” approach would be effective. And, as it turned out, it wasn’t.

With the economy coming apart at the seams, the “Youngstown John” emphasis seems trivial at best. At worst, it indicates that an out-of-touch reality that has taken hold of the deep thinkers of the Ohio Republican Party.

Were the Republicans really buying into the notion that Democrat Celeste DeHoff could defeat Republican Todd Snitchler in the gerrymandered Republican 50th Ohio House district?

For the Republicans to have had a realistic possibility of losing this seat, Stark Democrats would have had to field a strong candidate. As it turns out, DeHoff was the weakest candidate that the Democrats could have gotten behind. Certainly, the Ohio GOP had polling information to indicate that reality and yet it funneled money into the Snitchler campaign even to the point of putting him on expensive Cleveland network station television.

This is money that could have and should have gone into the contribution-deficient Schuring campaign.

The 57% to 42% loss by Schuring in Stark County (the largest in the district comprising of Stark, Wayne, part of Medina and Ashland counties), was way too substantial for Schuring to make up in the other counties. For veteran Stark County political observers, it was astounding to see Schuring lose Stark by such a wide margin. Part of the reason for the margin of loss had to be strategizing that had Schuring spending too much time in the decidedly Republican counties.

What Schuring lacked was an abiding Stark presence articulating an economic message that resonated with the voters, At least enough to make Stark County competitive.

For Schuring to win in the context of the Democratic tide that pretty much swept the country, he had to have the very best in political advice and run a flawless campaign.

So in the final analysis, is the Ohio Republican Party and strategizing deficiencies in its leadership duo of Bennett and DeWine to blame for the Schuring loss?

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